For more than a century, sheep have
trailed into the Wood River and Sawtooth valleys as warm summer days beckon, and then back
to the Snake River Plain as the cold snap of winter takes hold.
On Friday, bands of sheep made their way through the Wood River Valley,
stopping to graze and rest along the way.
One band of approximately 2,400 sheep and lambs was found resting on a
hillside about three miles south of Ketchum. From afar, they appeared like wads of cotton
against a green hillside. Two shepherdsone from Peru, another from
Then, at about 4:30 p.m., as a few drops of rain fell from a mostly sunny
sky, the shepherds and their dogs went to work.
One shepherd mounted a horse and rode up the
hillside, whistling after the band. Bleating cries sounded through the canyon, and the
band was on its way to high country grazing land where it would spend the summer.
Sheep have grazed and been trailed in central Idaho since 1892 when sheep
largely replaced lead and silver as the Wood River Valleys major export.
More than a century later, sheep still trail through the Wood River
Valleybut tourism has taken over as the primary fuel stoking its economic engine.